Addis Ababa — Government officials and experts in Burkina Faso are meeting next weekto develop the country's strategy for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) ahead of its commencement next year.
The two-day meeting in Ouagadougou from 26 Oct. to 27 Oct. is being organized by the country's trade and industry ministry in collaboration with international partners including the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the International Trade Center and the African Union Commission.
Besides sensitizing participants on the theme of AfCFTA, the meeting will also hold discussions on the risks and opportunities associated with the implementation of the agreement for the country and the implications for stakeholders.
Senior government officials responsible for trade, integration, industry, economy, finance, agriculture livestock, environment, youth and women are taking part, together with representatives of research institutes, think tanks, bilateral development partners, sub-regional and international organizations.
Among private sector and civil society participants expected at the forum are the country's chambers of commerce, workers unions, women's organizations, cooperatives, producer groups, non-government organizations and the media.
TheAfCFTA agreement was signed in Kigali on 21 March 2018 and entered into force on 30 Maylast year following its ratification by 22 member-states.Trading was initially set to commence in July this year but was postponed to January 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Burkina Faso is one of the 30 countries that have ratified it. The agreement, once operational, will be the world's largest by number of participating countries with a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of US$2.5trillion. It will also constitute a significant milestone towards the realization of the African Union's Agenda 2063 for the socio-economic transformation of the continent. (ECA)